In the jazz club I am talking to the saxophonist. He is a friend of my friend the Irishman. We are talking about Richard Ford.
The jazz club is small and mostly purple. The saxophonist is dressed like a man who has been kicked to death. He is a genius. He played using a reverb pedal. The sound was like an animated architectural pitch: the overpass slides over the fresh highway; the onramp includes itself. The musicians do not care for me but the Irishman is well-liked and so they are polite.
There is a bar somewhere beyond my shoulder out of which I have been drinking gin and tonic. I become aware that we are being listened-to by the last point of the bar, furthest in the corner. The saxophonist is famous amongst jazz people and so I assume that he is the object of interest: but when the shape moves in, it is my arm it touches.
“I want to get to know you,” the shape says. It like being talked to by the bureau from Beauty and the Beast. “You seem interesting.”
He is wearing a leather hat. He is extraordinarily drunk. It comes on him that he should feign interest in my friends. “What’s your name?” he says to the saxophonist, who takes a step backward. The giant man goes around the circle and demands to know each man’s name. Then he takes my hand (my hand is a pebble down a well). The giant man looks like actor X. “I’d like to get to know you,” he says, moved.
Quickly he wants to know if the Irishman is married to me. “We’re mutual acquaintances,” says my enemy the Irishman. He means we are acquainted with one another, mutually.
The giant has a friend who wants to leave. The giant moves with his friend like an executive toy in zero g. Paused at the door, light is on the pronounced T of the friend’s cheeks and nose; he is smiling tight as a kroisos. He is unmistakably actor Y, which means that the huge drunk man is actor X.
Actor X tidals back to us. “Are you English?” he realizes at me, but I am not. “Are you English?” he asks the Irishman, who says “Not quite.”
After this I am a hit on the LA jazz scene. All the unkempt men with their big black cases want to hear my story. The jazz club is in Japantown, in a storied courtyard, up the little layers in an elevator. The shops are shut. Pink toys, slim notebooks and whitening masks in the windows, clean and deep in plastic as a drugstore.